Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


someone who teaches or who is involved in running a school

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary

Origin and usage

The noun educator comes from a classical Latin word ‘educator’ meaning a person who brings up children. It has been used in English since the 17th century.


Yesterday was World Teachers’ Day, a celebration of teachers held every year since 1994. Since we looked at ‘teacher‘ last year, this post focuses on a more recent and broader term, educator. A second meaning is ‘someone who is an expert in education’. Macmillan Dictionary labels this word as ‘mainly American’. Although I first heard someone describe themselves as an educator not so long ago and it was sufficiently unfamiliar to bring me up short, I don’t think it’s necessarily regarded as mainly American any longer. The term’s usefulness lies in its generality: saying that you are an educator means that you don’t have to specify where or who you teach, whereas ‘teacher’ suggests schools, with other terms being used for other settings. ‘Teacher’ is much more common than educator, being more than six times as frequent in our corpus. If you have a view on this subject, please do put it in the comments below.


To aid life, leaving it free, however, that is the basic task of the educator.
(Maria Montessori)

If you only think of me during Black History Month, I must be failing as an educator and as an astrophysicist.
(Neil deGrasse Tyson)

Related words

coach, instructor, tutor

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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